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Meet the youth hostel claimed which function more or less as dormitories—and expensive five-star hotels.
Even without the limited local selection, the hostel itself is fantastic. Its city center location is within spitting district of Nevskii Prospect, the city’s beautiful arterial boulevard. It has a variety of clean, comfortable rooms and friendly, helpful staff. It also offers day trips to an authentic dacha in the woods outside the city, and provides opportunities to take a banya (Russian steam bath) and learn how to make borsht.
In January and February the hostel offers winter specials, with double rooms including breakfast going for just $44 a night. Stay five nights and you get an extra night free. Summer prices are only slightly higher, at $50 per night per room. The hostel will also issue you with a visa support letter entitling you to a Russian visa, enabling you to brave the bureaucratic maelstrom of your local Russian embassy or consulate with your head held high.
Also noteworthy: the hostel’s Web site is certainly well linked, with plenty of good information for navigating the “Venice of the North.”